Week 7 of the National Basketball Association is upon us, and as per usual there are a number of key players who are injured and out, as well as a few who have a possibility of returning soon.
Greg Oden of the Portland Trailblazers is officially out for the remainder of the season after having successful surgery on his left patella. Oden was visibly upset after his injury, feeling as if he has let his team down--unfortunately, Greg, they were probably expecting this after seeing how your first 2 seasons have gone! Dump him now and see if Joel Przybilla is available on your waiver wire, as he has been named the starting C for the remainder of the season. Look for Oden's absence to have an effect throughout the Trailblazers' lineup, with both LaMarcus Aldridge and Juwan Howard also spending time at C. In addition, Portland will be trying desperately to trade Andre Miller in order to get another big man in their lineup, despite Miller being quoted recently as saying that he doesn't mind coming off the bench now, as it is helping him stay young and fresh.
Danny Granger was taken off a plane on Sunday in a wheelchair due to a heel injury that was re-aggravated during Saturday's game versus the Clippers. Coaching staff are bracing for the worst as they await Tuesday's MRI results. It looks as if Granger will miss this week even if test results show no damage, and could miss considerable time if things end up bad for the 5th year player. As a result of his injury, look for Dahntay Jones to eat up the minutes lost by Granger, and should be started in most leagues as he has proven abilities.
Andrei Kirilenko of the Utah Jazz will be a gametime decision on Monday night, versus the San Antonio Spurs due to lingering back pains. Supposedly he was feeling better at shootaround, so perhaps he will be in the lineup come gametime. Needless to say, if he isn't playing tonight, he should be back within the next couple games.
Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have yet to return from their injuries, although both are getting dangerously close to a full recovery. Upon returning, look for Hamilton and Prince to be rusty, as both have been off for over a month now and will need some time to get into game shape. Hang in there with both of these players, as they should have considerable roles on a Detroit Piston team that as of right now has only one starter starting from last year's team--that would be Rodney Stuckey!
Lastly, Allen Iverson is set to make his return debut in Philadelphia tonight against the Denver Nuggets. He will be starting and will get plenty of minutes, as Jrue Holiday is out with a shoulder injury. Louis Williams's owners should be happy with today's news of a starting backcourt of Iverson/Williams upon the return of Big Louis from his jaw injury. Owners were preparing for the worst when it was revealed that Iverson was coming to town, but can breathe a sigh of relief with this news. Williams will still be out for several weeks, but should be held onto if you can afford to wait for his return. Additionally, Williams may be available on waiver wires, as many fantasy owners dropped him because of his injury and Iverson--again, pick him up if you have an open spot and could use what he has to offer.
As I always say, with injuries comes a flurry of activity on the fantasy waiver wire as new players are given more minutes and more opportunities on their respective teams. It is during these times that you need to watch stats closely and jump on players when you see a trend of decent performances.